Nuclear power is the fourth-largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity.As of 2016, India has 22 nuclear reactors in operation in 8 nuclear power plants, having an installed capacity of 6780 MW.
Arguments for Nuclear Energy
- Nuclear power remains an important part of our strategy to minimise carbon emissions in the long run.
- As a clean energy source, nuclear is best suited to gradually replace coal
- Lack of cheaper storage options for solar and wind energy
- This is essential to fulfil the Paris climate agreement as well as maintain high rates of economic growth.
- From a long-term perspective India needs nuclear power. This is because we are short of oil, gas and even coal. More than 70 per cent of petroleum products, 40 percent of gas and 20 percent of Coal consumption is based on imports.
- From a long-term perspective, renewable energy is inevitable and nuclear option should be retained as an insurance.
- India’s potential for hydro power is unevenly distributed across months. The generation from runoff-the river plants during the lean month may be as low as 10 percent of generation during the peak month.
- Having some nuclear power helps diversify the system and adds to energy security.
- If we can install the nuclear plants without delay and within budget, they are economically attractive.
- If India has to grow at 7 to 8 percent, energy security plays an important role and nuclear energy adds to it.
Arguments against Nuclear Energy
- Nuclear energy as a preferable option is changing and the global mood is against it.
- Comparative costs of nuclear production are high. As solar energy costs are decreasing, this difference is increasing further.
- Capital investment for job generation is very high for nuclear energy.
- If cost benefit analysis is announced, Non conventional sources like solar energy have less capital requirement and capital becomes productive quite soon. It is not the case with nuclear energy.
- Delays make costs escalate further.
- Disposal of radioactive material and danger of nuclear accidents makes it further prohibitive.
- Risks and costs of nuclear energy are overwhelmingly borne by the poor. There is always a lot of resistance from local communities against reactors.
- Beyond the risks associated with radioactive wastes, the threat of nuclear weapons looms large.
- Nuclear energy uses Uranium which is a scarce resource and is not found in many countries. Once all extracted, the nuclear plants will not be of any use